Will it continue?
Reports indicate a specific missile test site has been slated for destruction by the North Koreans.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has committed to the U.S. that North Korea will destroy the Ch’olsan County, North Pyongan province testing site, which sometimes is referred to as the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, CBS News reports. This agreement was made when President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore earlier this month, administration officials confirmed. This is the missile test engine site that Trump had mentioned after their meeting, though at the time he did not name it.
North Korea has used the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground to test liquid propellant engines for its long range ballistic missiles. Experts also say that this site is believed to be where the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which can target the U.S. mainland, was developed. This rocket engine test facility can be used for space launch and IBCM launching which are the delivery mechanism for nuclear weapons. Bob Carlin, a former North Korea intelligence adviser for the State Department North Korea, tells CBS News it is significant that the North is destroying this testing site because it is one of the largest in the country.
Trump’s team will be following-up with meetings with North Korean officials shortly.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “will be meeting with them and talking with them at the earliest possible date” to implement what was agreed in Singapore, spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters, without providing further details.
Asked on Wednesday if North Korea had done anything toward denuclearization since the summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters: “No, I’m not aware of that … obviously, it’s the very front end of a process. The detailed negotiations have not begun. I wouldn’t expect that at this point.”
Interestingly, Mattis is heading to Beijing next week.
The visit comes after Mattis this month rebuked Beijing for its military build-up in the South China Sea amid worsening ties between the two nations, and analysts say both sides recognise the need to step up communication to avoid the situation getting out of control.
Mattis announced on Wednesday that he would go to Beijing next week before travelling to Seoul.
It appears that preparations have begun to return the remains of American soldiers back from North Korea.
US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday that in coming days North Korea would hand over a “sizeable number” of remains to United Nations Command in South Korea, and they would then be transferred to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.
…About 7,700 US military personnel remain unaccounted from the 1950-1953 Korean War, US military data show. According to the Pentagon, North Korean officials have indicated in the past that they have the remains of as many as 200 US troops. More than 36,500 US troops died in the conflict.
Finally, the two Koreas will hold a Red Cross meeting to discuss a set of humanitarian issues, including holding a reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
South Korea has demanded a family reunion be held as soon as possible as many of those wishing to be reunited with their long lost families are aging.
Data showed that the registered number of South Koreans seeking to meet their loved ones in the North totaled 132,124 as of end-May, of which only about 57,000 remain alive. Some 86 percent of them are in their 70s and older.
A daunting challenge is to confirm whereabouts of the lost families in North Korea, an issue that requires close cooperation by North Korea.
No word yet if any of the Korean officials are going to wear coat-with-messages for their press to speculate over, however. If they did, it might look like this:
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— Craptee Staff (@CRAPTEEdotCOM) April 18, 2018
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